Gamescom: PlayStation 3 Redesigned, Launching Sep 1

The big news out of the Sony press event at Gamescom was the announcement of a new PlayStation 3 model.

Sony has a history of releasing slimmer versions of their systems, with both the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 having slim models three-four years into their lifespan.  This redesign comes just shy of PS3’s third birthday, but is most instrumental in allowing Sony to make a profit on each unit sold without continuing with the bulky design it launched with back in 2006.

The new system will be released around the world on September 1 (Japan on September 3), and will have no new features, though it comes stocked with a higher-capacity 120GB model (current base models come with 60GB).

While we re actually not that impressed by the system s new look (that plastic looks a little cheap, but we have yet to see it in person), this is definitely the right direction for the third-place Sony.

Below is SCEA’s President and CEO Jack Tretton showing off the new goods (sans that dumb Spider-Man font that graced the original).

Gamescom: Sony Announces Minis

Sony is launching a Minis brand on the PlayStation Store that will be home to inexpensive, bite-sized games playable on PSP and PSP Go.

From Joystiq:

The lineup will launch on October 1st, the same day as the PSP Go. […] Sony plans to have 15 snacktivities ready for the PSP Go launch, though 50 games are slated for the rest of 2009. A few titles mentioned during the company’s GamesCom keynote include Tetris, Field Runners, Hero of Sparta and Minigore.

Field Runners, Minigore and the rest are currently iPhone games, although they won’t be strict ports as the Sony systems do not have touchscreen capabilities.  We love the Minis idea and brand, and reported on rumors about this on Monday.

Gamescom: PSP Go Now With Gran Turismo

The new PSP Go is meant to be an addition to Sony’s portable line, not a replacement (as seen by today’s announcement of two new colors for the PSP lineup), but at $249 the price of entry is a bit steep.  Sony tried to soften the blow today with some news that it would be giving away a free copy of Gran Turismo PSP to each owner who registers their system between October 1 and 10.

Unfortunately, the offer only stands for European consumers, although we’d be shocked if that (or a similar) offer doesn’t make it to American shores before the system’s October 1 release date.

We still think $249 is far too high a price point to effectively market the PSP Go, and the inclusion of a $40 game is welcome news.  We actually think they need a couple more goodies to really make this a must-have unit.

Still, every little bit counts, and we ll keep you posted to how SCEA responds to requests for a similar U.S. program.

Gamescom: Digital Reader Comes To PSP

The Sony-heavy announcements out of Gamescom continues with news of a digital reader hitting the handheld PSP system later this year.

From The Guardian:

Launching in the U.S. and in key European territories including the UK this December (other PAL areas to follow next year), the first element of the service, ‘Digital Comics’, will allow gamers to download hundreds of new and classic comics from PlayStation Store to the console, via Wi-Fi connection.

Marvel was the premiere partner of note at today s announcement, with their X-Men and Iron Man comics making their way onto the digital reader.  Other publishers of note are heavily in the comics realm, but Sony is looking to other publications to round out the offering.

Will Sony’s digital reader save the printed comic industry?   At the very least, it should allow many of the video game comic book announcements (Halo and Modern Warfare 2 spring to mind) to find an extremely relevant home in the hands of avid comic book readers.

Nintendo’s Wii Sports Resort Push Continues

Wii Sports Resort was July’s biggest selling game, according to NPD, and that was with less than a week on sale at the tail end of the month.  We analyzed the Wii Sports marketing push in our exclusive feature two weeks ago, and we noticed it is continuing with a new TV spot for the U.S. audience.

Gotta love the summer feel of these US spots.For curiosity’s sake, we took a look at what Nintendo’s European and Japanese arms are doing to promote the game. 

Below is the latest European spot, starring UK golfer Melissa Reid and Italian basketballer (and current New York Knick) Danilo Gallinari.
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The UK campaign is a little bit different, going the informative route and discussing the Wii Motion Plus in more detail.
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Lastly, Nintendo’s home country gets an ad spot that isn t as good looking as the others, but shares similar sentiments by showing people at play with the game.
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We prefer the American spots for their clean look and immersive visuals, but what do you think?

Killzone 2: Even The Credits Look Good

It’s not often that a game can look visually stunning from the first cinematic right through to the end of the game, but Killzone 2 manages to do that and more.  The graphical feast continues right past the final confrontation with the enemy and well into the credits sequence — that s showing some care to the user’s experience.

From SubmarineChannel:

The credit sequence of the higly anticipated FPS game Killzone 2 for the Playstation 3 were made by the Dutch 3D designer Joost Korngold of Renascent. “They first hired me to redesign the main game interface,” recalls Korngold calling from his studio in Amsterdam,  “but creatively speaking, I was most interested in designing the credit sequence. “

Guerilla Games gave Korngold carte blanche in creating the main credits and provided him with a few dozen in-game 3D models such as the game levels, vehicels, weapons and characters. “Those were the building blocks that I used to create the compositions,” says Korngold. “I spent one month freaking with the game models and based on that I developed the graphic style. ”

Take a look at his beautiful handiwork here.

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Gamescom: EyePet Augmented Reality Comes With PS3 Eye

From Joystiq:

While the company has confirmed that the camera-enabled carefest will arrive in North America this year, it has yet to establish a price for that region. EyePet will launch for 49.99 (roughly $70), camera included, in Europe this holiday.

There are reports that the game will also retail without the camera for about 30 percent less, and although no U.S. price has been announced, we d assume something in the $30-40 range sounds about right.

If you re unfamiliar with EyePet, the game is Sony’s first real foray into the augmented reality realm they lightly touched on with Eye of Judgement (also made available with the PlayStation Eye camera).  Here is the latest trailer from today’s Gamescom.

Gamescom: How Do You Market Love?

Heavy Rain is one of PlayStation 3’s most anticipated games to come out, with no release date set in stone.  The game looks to be extremely story-heavy, with a focus on the characters and script rather than the gameplay.

The latest trailer, which debuted today at Gamescom, deals with a father and his children, and poses the question, “How far are you willing to go for love?”
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Pretty heavy stuff, and a marketing challenge that Sony seems to be handling by portraying the game more as a movie.But will gamers pony up $60 for what looks like an interactive movie

Video Of The Day: The Vendor Client Relationship

Today s video of the day deals with the all-too-familiar relationship between vendor and client, where we are asked to give up mocks, concepts, even full-on work for free in the hopes we land a client and get a return on our original investment.

How’s that work out with the hair salon, video store or local restaurant?   The video has the answer!